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We Couldn’t Do It In The House, So We Went To A Hotel

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I completed senior high school at a younger age than most people in my class did. I was one of those gifted kids but the financial situation at home was challenging. All I wanted to do was further my education to the university, so I could acquire the knowledge and skills to make something out of my life.

So I didn’t play when it came to my books. Boys tried to get my attention but I had a goal I was not willing to tamper with. So I didn’t pay them any mind. When I wrote my WASSCE, my hard work paid off. I passed my exams and qualified to make it to the university. However, my mother didn’t have the money to fund this dream of mine.

She had a discussion with my uncle and they came to an agreement that I would go live with my uncle, and serve him. In return, he would sponsor me through school. I went to my uncle’s house with high hopes that he would honour their deal. He owned a local restaurant so I worked there. He never paid me a dime but I didn’t mind.

After all, I was working in exchange for what he would do for him. To my dismay, whenever I brought up the subject of school, he told me, “No, you are too young to be in the university. You are not even eighteen yet, so what’s the rush?” I knew it wasn’t the deal but I held on, hoping he would eventually honour his word.

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Apart from the restaurant, I worked tirelessly in his house like a maid. I was family but the harsh treatment I endured in that house made me feel so alone and out of place. I believe if they had hired a maid, they would have treated that person more kindly than they did me. The only person in that house who treated me as human was my uncle’s first son.

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Anytime someone made me sad or upset, he would speak comforting words to me. If he found me crying he would give me his shoulder to lean on. Once in a while, he would buy me gifts to cheer me up. Sometimes too he would tell me, “I see the way they treat you in this house and I know it’s not good. But you know I am not like them. I care about you so if there is something bothering you, you can talk to me.” Of course, I needed someone to talk to.

And who better than the person who has a front-row seat to my suffering? That’s how he became my confidant. One day we were having our usual conversations when he looked at me intently and said, “I love you, Joyce.” I was so shocked that I could not utter a word. I was seventeen then while he was twenty-three.

I was his family so how could he? Even if we took that out, what about the fact that I was a minor? I became afraid of him after that confession, and started avoiding him. But we lived in the same house so how far could I have gone? He didn’t force me nor attempt to. All he did was treat me with more kindness and assure me that his feelings for me were genuine. So I gave in and we started dating.

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We couldn’t have gotten intimate in the house in case someone saw us. That’s why we made hotels our dwelling places. Everything I did with him, he was my first. Along the way I got pregnant. He told me we couldn’t keep it and I understood, so we did what needed to be done. It happened a second time, and this time around too, we got rid of it. During my fifth year in that house, I realized my uncle was just using me for free labour.

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He showed no sign that he would support my education. By then I had saved up enough money from the tips I received from customers so I bought university forms. When I gained admission, I enrolled myself in school and moved out of the house.

When I Delivered In my first semester in school, my cousin called off our relationship. He said, “Even though I love you, we can never be together because we are related. So it’s best we end things now.

I knew he was right so I didn’t fight it. However, we were still close. He was still my confidant so I talked to him whenever something was bothering me, and he held space for me. In my second year, I met Kojo, the guy I am currently dating. This guy would give the earth to me if it belonged to him, but he is a chronic cheat. That is the one thing he refuses to change about himself to make me happy.

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I try to cope with it but sometimes it hurts so badly. And I turn to my cousin to talk about it. Mostly, we talk on the phone but recently, I went to visit my uncle and we were left alone in the house. One moment we were chatting, and the next moment we were doing it again. I felt so dirty and ashamed of myself when we finished.

I felt the fact that Kojo cheats on me without remorse did not mean I should have done it with my cousin. Now I am no better than him because I also cheated. It makes me feel like the worst person on this planet. I don’t know what to do to help me forgive myself. Does anyone here have any counsel for me? I believe I need help.

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